On View: Contemporary Art, North Gallery
Converting found materials into a unique medium between sculpture and painting, El Anatsui combines diverse aesthetic traditions from Ghana, Nigeria, and the global history of abstraction. Working with discarded metal bottle caps collected from a liquor distillery, Anatsui modifies this unremarkable everyday material, chosen for both its physical qualities and its bodily connection to the original consumer, to make vast, undulating sheets.
Anatsui’s sheets are pieced together and hung without prescribed orientation, taking on new shapes with each installation. This “non-fixed form,” as the artist calls it, is emblematic of Anatsui’s desire for his work to remain dynamic, inspiring creativity in those who install it and illustrating the ever-changing conditions of life.
In Black Block, Anatsui uses only one color (though the black is broken up by flashes of red and yellow) and only one type of metal piece across a monumental expanse of some 15,000 elements.
Aluminum and copper wire
two pieces, each: 207 x 133 1/2 in., 67 lb. (525.8 x 339.1 cm, 30.39kg) (show scale)
Bequest of William K. Jacobs, Jr., by exchange
© El Anatsui
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El Anatsui (Ghanaian, born 1944). Black Block, 2010. Aluminum and copper wire, two pieces, each: 207 x 133 1/2 in., 67 lb. (525.8 x 339.1 cm, 30.39kg). Brooklyn Museum, Bequest of William K. Jacobs, Jr., by exchange, 2013.7a-b. © artist or artist's estate (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, DIG_E_2013_Anatsui_Gravity_and_Grace_032_PS4_2013.7a-b.jpg)
installation, DIG_E_2013_Anatsui_Gravity_and_Grace_032_PS4_2013.7a-b.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2013
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